Pros / It has excellent signal clarity.
Cons / It costs more than similar AUX-in Bluetooth car kits.
Verdict / The Kinivo BTC450 is very similar to our top Bluetooth car adapter, in both size and performance, but it costs nearly twice as much.
As an AUX-in Bluetooth car kit, the Kinivo BTC450 is a good option with great signal clarity and above average signal strength. The unobtrusive circular design is like the Anker SoundSync Drive and SoundBot SB360, though with a different control setup. It attaches to your dash via an adhesive pad on the back and plugs into the AUX port on the stereo, so long as your stereo has an AUX port.
The Kinivo BTC450 costs $35.99. While this is about $10 cheaper than the average Bluetooth adapter, it's $16 more expensive than the Anker SoundSync Drive and the SoundBot SB360. This price difference wouldn't matter if the performance exceeded these similar devices, but this is simply not the case. That said, it's the third most reviewed Bluetooth car kit on Amazon with over 5,700 reviews and has a similar overall rating to the SB360.
For signal clarity, the BTC450 received an A grade. The clarity is simply superb. The music in my carefully selected playlist sounded just as it should. The quality was only matched by the best Bluetooth adapter overall. The products with B grades also sounded good but had a significant number of distortion blips common with Bluetooth streaming.
The signal strength was also very good, though not elite, earning the BTC450 a B grade. With the volume on the car stereo and the phone set at the same level for each device, to isolate the strength of the audio signal, this kit had the second strongest signal. It was 3 dB weaker than the strongest signal in the test. Most other devices were significantly weaker. The visor-style Bluetooth adapters were 14 dB quieter on average.
The ease of pairing received a C+ grade. It wasn't the most troubling device to pair with my phone and music player, but it still took nearly three minutes for both devices to even recognize it and successfully pair. This issue wasn't limited to the BTC450 though. I had similar issues with several other Bluetooth adapters. But I also had no problems pairing with several other kits. So, I'm not convinced this was an issue related to my phone and music player.
The controls of the BTC450 are average. They aren't clearly visible or labeled effectively. The forward and reverse buttons are on the side. You have to feel for them. And the play/pause button is the entire front of the device, but there's nothing to suggest as much.
As with most AUX-in Bluetooth car kits, the BTC450 is a small, circular device that sticks to your dash with an adhesive pad and plugs into your car stereo's AUX port. This is why it received a B+ for unobtrusiveness. It's unassuming and doesn't draw attention to itself with lights or a display, and you can put it anywhere you want, ensuring it's out of your way.
The Kinivo BTC450 features the audio performance and unobtrusive design similar to the best Bluetooth car kits I reviewed. The biggest difference is price. You can get a similar device for about half as much. There's no reason to spend more than $20 on a Bluetooth car adapter.